Iran’s state broadcaster put a fake voiceover on a video of Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, blaming him for hate speech against Israeli fans.
In the video, originally posted in 2016 to support Syrian children suffering in the country’s civil war, what Ronaldo is really saying is to call on children not to give up hope. “I’m a very famous player but you are the real heroes.”
In the version broadcast by the IRIB, Ronaldo’s voice is dubbed in Persian saying that he cannot tolerate Israeli spectators as they are the most hated for him, adding that he does not exchange his shirt with assassins . The Islamic Republic state broadcaster also dismissed a 2013 prank as true, falsely claiming that Ronaldo refused to swap his t-shirt with an Israeli player after a match with his national football team.
In Reality, the video showed a Portuguese player swapping shirts with an Israeli player walking past Ronaldo, but some anti-Israel media reported it as if Ronaldo refused to swap shirts. The Portuguese player is easily recognizable by the dark colored shorts he wears.
The state broadcaster aired the fake video about a month after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei criticized Ronaldo’s fame among students in Iranian schools. Khamenei compared Ronaldo to an Iranian scientist, Saeed Kazemi Ashtiani, director of Iran’s Infertility Research Center in Royan, who died in 2006, saying the students knew Ronaldo but not Ashtiani.